Jan 21, 2020  
2010-2011 General Catalog 
2010-2011 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG Please see current catalog]

Religious Studies, BS

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Religious Studies Major

Program Director: Charles S. Prebish
Location: Main 331
Phone: (435) 797-1529
FAX: (435) 797-3899
TTY: (435) 797-1290
E-mail: charles.prebish@usu.edu
WWW: http://www.usu.edu/history/rels/

Degrees offered: Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Program Description

The Religious Studies BS or BA degree requires a total of 36 credits for the major.

Students begin their course of study by completing one lower-division course (RELS 1010 , Introduction to Religious Studies).

Students must take 30 credits of upper-division coursework, chosen from the following four areas: Cultural Inquiry (humanistic approaches), Scientific Inquiry (social scientific approaches), Doctrinal Inquiry (philosophical and theological approaches), and General Inquiry.

At the end of the program, students completing either the BA or the BS degree must take a capstone seminar.

The minor in religious studies requires the same lower-division course as the major, as well as 12 additional credits with at least one upperdivision course chosen from each of the first three areas of approach: Cultural Inquiry, Scientific Inquiry, and Doctrinal Inquiry.

Purpose and Outcomes

Students completing the BA or BS degree in Religious Studies should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  1. understand the influence of religion upon culture, and the influence of culture upon religion;
  2. analyze the influence of religious value systems on individuals;
  3. apply appropriate methods of research and argumentation to questions concerning religion and culture;
  4. communicate their findings in clear, well-reasoned writing; and
  5. express cultural literacy concerning the major religions of the world.


New students accepted in good standing by the University may apply for admission to the Religious Studies Program. Students transferring from another institution or another major will be admitted if they have an overall minimum GPA of 2.5.

Candidates must earn a grade of C or better in all courses used to meet the requirements of the Religious Studies major or minor.

Degree Options

Students in the program may work toward one of the following two degrees:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree

Students enrolled in the BA degree focus their work on cultural questions within religious studies. Since sufficient coursework in a foreign language is required, students should consider completing courses offered by USU in Latin, Greek, Chinese, or other appropriate languages. The BA degree requires a minimum proficiency in a foreign language. This proficiency may be established in one of the following ways:

  1. Sixteen credits in a single language
  2. Documentation of a proficiency level of “intermediate low” or better through an examination administered by the USU Department of Languages, Philosophy, and Speech Communication.
  3. Completion of any upper-division foreign language course constituting a third-year course of study with a grade of C or better

Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree

Students enrolled in the BS degree focus their work on quantitative or clinical questions within religious studies. Students should consider completing upper-division courses in social science  methods or statistics. Students must complete 15 credits of math and science beyond the University Studies requirements.

Sample Four-year Plan for Religious Studies Major

A suggested semester-by-semester four-year plan for students working toward a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies can be found at: http://www.usu.edu/degreeplans/

Students should consult with their advisor to develop a plan of study tailored to their individual needs and interests.

Religious Studies Major

Minimum GPA for Admission: 2.5, USU; 2.0, Career
Minimum GPA for Graduation: 2.5, major courses; 2.0, USU
Minimum Grade Accepted: C in all major requirements

Students must complete at least 36 credits in interdisciplinary coursework. A grade of C or better must be earned in all classes used for the major.

Elective Courses (30 credits)

Students must complete at least 6 credits of coursework chosen from each of the first three divisions (Cultural Inquiry, Scientific Inquiry, and Doctrinal Inquiry). The remaining credits may be selected from any of the four divisions. The total credits for coursework completed in this section must be at least 30 credits. Students should check all courses for prerequisites.

Cultural Inquiry

Courses in this section use the methods of the arts and humanities to explore religious expression and the ways in which religion and behavior interact over time.

Scientific Inquiry

Courses in this section use the methods of the social sciences to explore religious values and behavior on an individual and a societal level.

Doctrinal Inquiry

Courses in this section use the methods of philosophy and theology, exploring systems of belief and major theological models.


In consultation with the program advisor, students may receive approval to fulfill division elective requirements with courses other than those shown above.

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